The papers contained herein were presented at the Third International Conference on Composite Structures (ICCS/3) held at Paisley College of Technology, Paisley, Scotland, in September 1985. The Conference was organised and sponsored by Paisley College of Technology. It was co sponsored by the Scottish Development Agency, the National Engineering Laboratory, the USAF European Office of Aerospace Research and Development, and the US Army Research, Development and Standard isation Group-UK. It forms a natural and ongoing progression from the highly successful First and Second International Conferences on Composite Structures (ICCS/l and ICCS/2) held at Paisley in 1981 and 1983, respectively. To label composites as rather specialised, sophisticated, space-age structural materials would be to underestimate greatly their wider industrial potential. It is unquestionably true that they will play an increasingly dominant, if not decisive, role in aerospace engineering. Indeed a future aircraft industry without composites as the prime structural materials is inconceivable. However, in an energy-conscious world the high specific weights and stiffnesses of composites make them an attractive proposition in every sphere of transportation engineering. This fact is soundly underlined in one of the Plenary papers contained herein and in one of the sessions devoted to this subject. I t would also be a considerable mistake to interpret composites as simply lightweight alternatives to conventional metallic structural materials.